Florian and Kwaza earn 2019 MVP awards

June 26, 2019, 8:13 p.m. (ET)


Contact: Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, amanda.bird@usabs.com


Florian and Kwaza earn 2019 MVP awards



LAKE PLACID, N.Y.(June 26, 2019)– USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS) is proud to announce Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) and Lake Kwaza (Sycamore, Ill.) as the 2019 MVP athlete award winners.


Florian started the season as the second ranked men’s skeleton athlete in the country to earn his first career national team nomination.  Before stepping up to the World Cup tour in only his third season sliding, Florian raced in a series of North American and European Cup races. In all, Florian competed in 16 international races this season. Florian finished eighth in World Championships to lead the U.S. men’s squad to conclude an impressive rookie season on the elite circuit.


“I am so thrilled looking back at this past season and what I was able to accomplish, and the fact that it was topped off with this award,” Florian said. “This season wouldn’t have been a success, however, without the team on the road with me and behind all of us back in Lake Placid. We all worked together extremely well this season and made each other better sliders in the process. I am already looking forward to racing again with my teammates and seeing what we can do next season.”


USA Skeleton Head Coach Tuffy Latour said Florian’s start times are consistently amongst the best in the world, and the experience from his years competing as a skier have helped him better understand sliding.


“For a relatively new athlete, his push times are really impressive,” Latour said. “As he gains more experience with driving, he’s going to continue to surpass sliders from around the world.”



Kwaza, a track sprinter from the University of Iowa (class of 2016), first tried bobsled in 2017 and made her World Cup debut this season. The 25-year-old made a quick impression on the international scene by earning five medals, including a victory with pilot Elana Meyers Taylor in front of a home crowd in Lake Placid. 


Kwaza is currently at basic training and plans on joining the Army’s World Class Athlete Program. She was notified that she was the 2019 bobsled award recipient through a voicemail from USA Bobsled Head Coach Mike Kohn.


“We are extremely proud of Lake for her efforts last season, and we’re looking forward to seeing her continue to grow in the sport,” Kohn said.




Please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at amanda.bird@usabs.com, or at (518) 354-2250 with media inquiries.


About USA Bobsled & Skeleton
USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, BiPro, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.